Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Book Giveaway

Hey, don't you love a blog giveaway? I know I do. This time the yummy prize is Mary Beth Shaw's new book (which I am featured in) titled, Flavor for Mixed Media. I sat down a few days ago and read the book from cover to cover and the instructions and recipes really got me inspired.

One of my favorite recipes was submitted by Misty Mawn. Vegetarian Reuben Sandwiches - wow. She made them for us last year and they are incredibly delicious. The book includes step by step instructions for many great mixed media projects, recipes from all the artists and features some new products that I am itching to try.

One of the products is wood icing which is shown above. Here I'm comparing it to joint compound. I don't have a definitive decision on which product I like better as there are so many different joint compound formulations on the market and so far I've only tried this one. But I do know I love wood icing. Stay tuned for more experiments.

To enter this giveaway all you have to do is leave a comment saying what your favorite flavor of mixed media is. For example, I love the painting part. And the glueing part. And the looking at it later part. Just a simple sentence or two. The drawing closes at 8pm Pacific Standard Time on Sunday so that will give everyone time to comment.

Mary Beth is preparing a sister post to this on her blog today so be sure to stop in over there as well. She will be mailing out the book to you so you can thank her while you're there. :-D

Meanwhile a lot is going on over here. Sometimes I get confused with so many choices.

I've been writing and pasting of course. Slopping the paint around and thinking noble thoughts.

I've started a new plaster book using a lace tablecloth as the page substrate. I leave the lace between the pages unplastered so the signatures will bend for stitching.

Here are some of the pages laid out to harden.

Back to the studio now. There are messes to be made and things to stare at. 

And talk to me. Tell me what you love that's waiting for you in your studio. And then go and make something!

PS. Eek! I forgot 2 things. First off, sister Mary Beth is giving away a beautiful piece of her art on her blog too so you have a chance to win that along with the book. Holy cow, how did I miss that when I wrote this post? It is a gorgeous piece; go look and see!

Secondly, we'll be drawing the winning name on April 4th when we get together. So wow, what fun. Big happy smiles over here. xo

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

EncaustiCamp Preview - Michelle Belto

All Roads Lead to Forever
Encaustic, Tar, Torch on Handmade Paper

This guest post is from Michelle Belto who will be teaching at EncaustiCamp in July. This is what you will learn if you sign up for her class.

When I got married, I didn’t know the first thing about cooking.  Unfortunately, my new husband liked to eat…and eat often!   Thinking that it would be something easy, he informed me that his favorite side dish was mashed potatoes and that “it would go with everything.”   What he didn’t realize was that even the lowly mashed potato was beyond the level of my expertise.   I remember calling up my mom with a raw potato in my hand and asking the question:  How do you get from here to there?
I often get asked that question about my work.  How did you get there?   For those who will be attending the first ever Encausticamp in Portland this summer, you will get there yourself!   Beating cotton and rag into a giant slushy pulp and then reforming it into something wonderful is addicting.  What’s more making your own supports will open the door to endless new ways to explore mixed media work, sculpture, and, of course, encaustic painting.
Here is a visual overview of the process that you will learn when you come to camp:

Participants will first learn how to make pulp from ordinary recycled materials.  We will use the pulp in a pour-mold (1) which will allow us to add cool things like glitter and cut up newspaper or embed threads or botanicals. Our form, created from foam core and other materials, will be embedded in the pulp. This will make the support stable enough to take the wax.  (2)The next step is to remove the water by pressing.  One of my students is hand-pressing the pulp.  See she is smiling!  It is fun! (3)  The final step is to allow the form to dry…and voila!  You have just created your one-of-a-kind support.

Doesn't this look like fun? Wow, I can't wait to meet Michelle and see what she does with wax and molded paper pulp. 

Join Michelle and five other instructors and six passionate assistants this summer at EncaustiCamp 2011. Three days and four nights of all things beeswaxy and beautiful~July 13-July 17. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Malibu Recap

Malibu was heavenly. Gina did everything possible to make every student and myself feel appreciated and comfortable. Special gifts; attention to details. I can't wait to return. I really recommend her two day classes if you are anywhere near or can travel to Malibu. She has some great teachers lined up soon including my talented friends Katie Kendrick (May 7 - 8) and Mary Beth Shaw (June 4 - 5). This is the only place Katie is teaching in 2011 so it is a rare opportunity to study with her.  

Minnie showed me a new camera app for the iPhone and I've been playing with it. 

This is why I love to teach. We lift each other. We really do.

The front door to Gina's club house where classes are held. 

Just outside the clubhouse door.

Flowers that don't grow in Oregon.

Judi Delgado in the foreground. She gave me the recipe for the best scones on the planet. (This photo nabbed from Gina's collection; I was so caught up that I shot very few photos.)

My wonderful room mate Laura who has her own blog and kept us both entertained with lively conversation and beautiful music by Krishna Das.

We shared amazing meals like the crab cakes above. 

Sunday it rained a swishy, palm frond waving tempest. It was so cozy in the clubhouse.

And Saturday night I came out of the grocery store to be confronted by the super moon in all her splendor. Magic everywhere.

This is the side of the clubhouse overlooking the ocean.

I'm feeling very peaceful now. The world is heavy with troubles but long on beauty and astonishing good surprises as well. I hope you are among the safe and warm. Namaste.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Blogging when I should be packing. Painting when I should be cooking. I love doing the opposite of what I should be doing. If it sounds better than the thing on my "to-do" list I go in that direction. If a meteor hits at least I will have had my fun first.

More transfers. More writing. When the stress level rises I write more. It helps me cope with change.

Happy St. Paddy's Day. My special holiday. I've always liked the idea of luck.

Yesterday I spent the day with an old, beloved friend. Back in the day we camped on the Oregon coast. We didn't have a tent so we slept in the back of my Volvo station wagon and cooked hot dogs over an open fire. We met at the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts where we were passionate printmakers. We went salmon fishing together off the Oregon coast (she caught one!) and shared our secrets.

I wrote about Susan Rostow and her incredible Akua Inks here and the years have only deepened my love and respect for her. It was fun to compare notes about our children, husbands, our lives since we last saw each other. She live in NYC now in a life that seems both exotic and productive. Maybe I will visit her there. So many dreams. Friends at the center of every one.

See you after the weekend. Malibu, here I come! xo

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Adjusting and Opining

My current obsession seems to be transfers. I just love rolling the paper off the back of the image and watching the magic happen. Best of all is when parts of the image peel away leaving a thing that is like a memory; broken and incomplete. The eye loves that sort of image.

To tell the truth, I can't stop my thoughts from returning to San Miguel at every turn. Remembering how each day was filled with adventure; friends and new acquaintances. Now I am rather itchy all by myself out here in the suburbs. I miss the faces that I met on the streets everywhere. I miss the warm expressions and the little walks to the neighborhood market where you are allowed to break off one celery stalk and buy it if that is all you need. I became one heck of a margarita maker while we were there. Those tiny key limes are the bomb.  

Where was I then? Oh yes, transfers. The one pictured above and below were from inkjet prints on regular paper. What I do is smear on matte gel medium with the side of my finger all over the image and let that dry. My theory is that the gel traps some of the water soluble ink. Then you proceed as with a regular (lazer) print. I apply the gel to the paper and then brayer the image into the gel. If you are transferring onto cheap or waterleaf paper you need to stabilize that paper first with either gel or acrylic paint. The image will not be as rich as a lazer image but if you live in the sticks like I do it is a back up technique. I used a clear gel pen on the lips, letters and some of the shadow. It didn't need it though, I was just doodling.

These are the pages ready for the next round of fun.

Like all of you I've been watching world events with a disturbed countenance. How do we keep our centers when the ground is shifting, forever shifting under our feet? Prayer, working for change, meditation, the distractions of our own survival are all useful coping devices. As I writer, I write. As a painter and journaler, I paint and journal what I am witnessing and how I try to turn my confusion into something useful. Even writing this today helps me; gives me a small job to do that raises my spirits as well as sending out an attitude of courage in the face of change.

Thanks for visiting with me here today. When I come here I am not alone. I can see and remember so many of your warm faces and it gives me comfort.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Journal Pages

I didn't take many art supplies with me to Mexico. Watercolors is what I used for the most part; my trusty glue stick, some gel medium, brushes, and a few small bottle of acrylic. Scissors, dates stamps, a stamp pad, gesso and about a jillion pens. Okay, I guess I did take quite a bit of stuff but I missed a lot of my favorite stand-bys too.

One of the reasons I took an encaustic class while I was there was because I felt I'd go crazy to go a month without dipping into the hot wax.

Now that I'm home I'm tickled to have access to all my acrylics, resins and papers that I like to use.

I think what i missed the most though was not having Photoshop to play around with. I think altering photographs and printing out images that speak to my subconscious are a huge inspiration for how I work.

I spoke to a friend in San Miguel who urged me very strongly to come back and teach a journaling class there.

I'm thinking about it.

In the meantime there is the paradise of Malibu on the horizon. I've been working on the packets and imagining some of the things I want to share in class. I've never had 2 days with a journaling class before and I'm really excited about being able to get into the painting techniques and writing prompts that I haven't had time to include in the past.

I celebrated a Birthday last week and it was really, really good. When I was younger I fretted over Birthdays. Thinking that getting old would be boring and that I would have to grow up.

All I can say now is "ha ha ha ha ha". What did I know? Certainly not that life would grow richer and more free with every passing year. That experience is a wonderful ground to stand on. That the spirit gets younger with time. That was my Birthday gift this year. Embracing my age, my experience, my blessings. 

"First you are young; then you are middle-aged; then you are old; then you are wonderful.
Lady Diana Cooper (1892-1986) English socialite and actress

Friday, March 04, 2011

San Miguel Recalled

Home again, full of memories and picking up the threads of the life I left behind. Pictured above is one of the handful of encaustics I completed in Ezshwan's class.

She was a very good teacher and demonstrated approaches I hadn't tried before but I found myself settling into my familiar groove in the classroom. 

It was so informative to work in a different studio and with someone else's equipment. It shakes things up.

Three weeks after I thought the above piece was finished I decided to rework parts of it without access to a torch or tools. I struck matches which I held on the surface and sat the piece in the sun to change the wax. That was really fun; making do with what I had on hand. I even got my hair dryer into the action.

Here Ezshwan demonstrates the hot pen. You can lift up blobs of wax and draw with the tip. 

And above is one of Ezshwan's paintings done with that tool.  In the background you can see the first demo piece with a little more added to it.

And this is another piece I did during class - nothing to write home about but it was fun.

John did a lot of cooking.

This last photo shows the tamales our housekeeper prepared for us from a cookbook John purchased. The tamales were made from corn slaked with lime, cooked into tortillas, those tortillas were soaked in cream until they disintegrated and then filled with ground peanuts and cinnamon, lightly sweetened. They were really wonderful.

Now I have to get to work to prepare packets of goodies for my Malibu class in a couple of weeks (see sidebar). I'll be scarce at responding to comments but please know that I read them and love hearing your thoughts. It's going to take awhile for me to get on track here. xo